tv NBC Bay Area News Special NBC November 16, 2015 12:30am-1:01am PST
male you're watching an nbc bay area news special. tonight, "class action." female: we've had an enormous drop over the last dozen years. announcer: the pipeline for new teachers plummets. linda darling-hammond: it's been a 70% drop. announcer: an acute teacher shortage grips the bay area. jenna landry: i've fought it for a long time. announcer: but is the teaching profession finally seeing a turnaround? jenna: when i was like, okay, stop fighting it, apply to the credential program. announcer: a rally in the capital hopes to spark a movement. ryan smith: these students start not ahead, they start from behind. announcer: a new report shines a spotlight on unequal education. ryan: we want the governor to know there needs to be more laws supporting the needs of black students. announcer: the call for action from black minds matter; plus. female: we are ecstatic. announcer: reaction from one of the 11 bay area schools that won a national award for academic excellence.
now, here's nbc bay area's jessica aguirre. jessica aguirre: hello, and welcome to this news special in "class action." we cover one of our most important institutions, our schools. and tonight, we begin with the issue affecting students all over the bay area, the teacher shortage. now, we have been telling you about this for the last few months, lots of classrooms, but not enough teachers, school districts struggling to fill teacher openings, and the problem is the pipeline. fewer and fewer people are actually going into teaching. but there are new signs that may be beginning to change. at the beginning of the school year, the teacher shortage in the bay area hit crisis levels as districts scrambled to fill classrooms. female: we've seen a sharp decrease in the number of individuals coming out of credentialing programs. jessica: those credentialing programs are the all-important pipeline for new teachers. linda: well, we've had an enormous drop over the last dozen years in the number of teachers going into preparation, so it's been a 70% drop.
jessica: the teacher pipeline cratered for many reasons, including layoffs and low salaries. but for the first time in years, there's a trickle that could translate into good news. linda: we've had a slight uptick in the beginning of the school year, in response to the fact that districts are hiring again instead of laying people off. jessica: take cal state east bay. enrollment is up this year in the teacher credential program. jenna landry: i've fought it for a long time. all through my undergrad, i tried to change majors, i tried. and last year, i worked full-time in a classroom and i was like, "okay, stop fighting it. apply to the credential program." jessica: the job market is expected to be good for these teachers in training. chelsea brazil: i feel really good because i know that i'm not going to have to stress out like people did years ago about finding a job your first year. jim zarillo: most of our graduates last year had offers from more than one district. jessica: college of education interim dean jim zarillo says he expects enrollment to continue to gradually increase because the job market is strong.
jim: there couldn't be a better time to become a teacher. jessica: no one knows yet if a rise in enrollment in credentialing programs can undo years of dwindling teacher numbers. linda: it's not at all clear whether the uptick is going to be enough to staff the demand that is happening now and coming in the future. jessica: but for a teaching profession battered by years of bad news, it is a welcome change. jim: we're coming back, we're coming back. jessica: let's hope that that trend really does stick. okay, now to our ongoing coverage of earthquake safety in schools. as we've shown you before right here on "class action," public schools are highly regulated for seismic safety. however, private schools are not, except in san francisco. it is the first and only city in california to require private schools do seismic evaluations. san francisco friends school has an unusual seismic story that starts with a historic old building.
male: it was built to house levi strauss's blue-jean assembly plant back in 1906. jessica: before the school moved in, it had to do a massive retrofit. male: we completely gutted the entire building, basically put the entire building, 82,000 square feet, on stilts, and lifted it up off of its then foundation, and then created a whole new foundation, and then set the building back down. jessica: everything inside this old building is basically new. male: you see a lot of steel everywhere, in every classroom, in every office, in every common area. you'll see these huge steel i-beams that are holding up the building in addition to the original foundation, and preparing it to withstand an earthquake. jessica: an earthquake no one wants to experience, but everyone knows is coming. simin naaseh: it's just a matter of time. it may not happen tomorrow, may happen, you know, the next day
or 15 years from now, but we know that it will happen, that's one thing we're sure about. jessica: as part of san francisco's ongoing effort to reduce risk, the city has put in place the first law of its kind in california. private schools have to evaluate seismic safety. patrick otellini: at first, people realized that they're a little shocked that this isn't already required. jessica: public schools have been regulated since the early 1930s, but not private schools. patrick: especially the parents that we surveyed, where you ask them and they assume because their kids were in private school and they were writing that check every month, that of course it must meet the same standards as the public schools, and that's just not the case. jessica: that doesn't mean private schools are dangerous. they're supposed to adhere to building codes. and a city report shows 43% of private school buildings are likely to perform well in earthquakes. but 33% might perform poorly. and for 24%, there just isn't enough information. simin: i think a good first step is evaluating the
buildings, and assessing the nature of the risk and the magnitude of the risk. and that's what this ordinance is trying to do. jessica: there are an estimated 113 private schools in san francisco, many in older buildings. schools occupy a movie theater, a victorian mansion, a former mayonnaise factory, a wide variety of campuses facing the same deadline. they have 2 years to complete the earthquake review. patrick: the schools are going to do these evaluations, and they're probably not going to want to sit on them. jessica: that's exactly what happened at the archdiocese of san francisco, which operates more private schools than any other school group, 34 total. david finn: we got a call one day that an engineer had identified one of the sites as being at immediate risk, based on the configuration of building. jessica: the classroom was a kindergarten located on the bottom floor of a building used for other parish purposes. it's permanently closed. david: the school was closed by the end of the day, that particular site, and the children removed.
jessica: the archdiocese evaluated all of its schools ahead of the deadline. and it's not the only private school entity already correcting deficiencies. the fixes are voluntary. schools are not required to retrofit. the law simply doesn't go that far. patrick: we see schools in every type of building under the sun. and so, to come up with a uniform standard, a way to retrofit this, it's not fair because some schools would be very cheap to retrofit given their construction type, other ones might be very expensive. jessica: but experts say if the law spurs action, it's an important first step. simin: putting our head in the sand and ignoring the risk isn't going to help us. but knowing what our vulnerabilities are, and addressing them and mitigating them, will help. jessica: now again, those seismic reviews will be public, so you can check them out yourself if you want to. now, for some follow-ups on some stories we've been covering in "class action." a high-profile math program is getting results. elevate math is a summer intervention program from the silicon valley education foundation, and it helps incoming eighth graders prepare for algebra.
new numbers from the department of education show the program is working. elevate math students scored nearly 24% higher than their peers on algebra readiness tests. and hats off to the winners of the national blue ribbon award. they include this school, vintage hills elementary in pleasanton. it is one of 11 bay area schools honored for academic excellence or progress in closing the achievement gap. ann jayne: we are ecstatic. and it's just validation for all the hard work of all the administrators, stakeholders, staff members who have come before me. jessica: those blue ribbon schools were honored at a ceremony in washington, d.c. now, we are just getting started. when we come back, black minds matter, a new look at discrimination and racism in schools, and the challenges facing black students. [music]
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jessica: you've heard of black lives matter? well, this is black minds matter. hundreds of students and activists rallied in sacramento this month. they say progress for black students in california is too slow, and they're demanding more action. now, i'm joined now by ryan smith. now, ryan actually emceed that rally. he's executive director of education trust west, which just issued a new report entitled "black minds matter." and i know you're taking a page from the black lives matter momentum that's happening right now. but really, we can't separate those two. black lives matter, black minds matter, those are very connected. ryan: yeah. i would say just as young black youth are seeing other young black youth who are unarmed being brutalized by the police,
the same thing happens within the education system. we've made policies and decisions that really affect the lives and minds of black students. so, although this isn't connected to the black lives matter movement, it is inspired by it. jessica: right, let's talk about the report itself because the report was fascinating to read. the report looks at the experiences and outcomes for black kids preschool through college. let's show you this. black children in california are the least likely to be placed into gifted and talented programs, have access to the full sequence of college prep classes, we're talking about those a through g courses, graduate high school in 4 years, or complete a degree, a college degree. and they are most likely to be suspended or expelled, taught by ineffective teachers, require remedial courses when they enter college. now, when you look at this report, it's pretty dismal, the picture that you see. and it's obvious why we also see this pipeline from school that fails students into the prison system. ryan: yeah, and actually, there's tons of bright spots. there's thousands of african-american students
who do well in the state. but when we looked, disproportionally african-americans are more likely, as you said, to be suspended and expelled, less likely to be in college prep courses. these are things that we make decisions about. we aren't putting the types of classes necessary for students to actually get into college. we are suspending our students in places, in some places other--and pushing them out in other places. jessica: and this starts very early too because one of the things your report points out is that when school starts, often african-american students are already behind their caucasian peers when it comes to being able to read, and that that puts them at the disadvantage. ryan: yeah, and we have--we know that there's a disproportionate amount of african-american students who are low-income and live below the poverty line. i mean, if we don't prioritize the education of african-american students, they'll never catch up. so, instead of giving those who have the least the most, we continue to make the same choices that give them
the least over time. and that's the reason why we see the type of statistics that we see in the report. jessica: that rally was so powerful too because you saw people really demanding change. one of the t-shirts said "black minds matter," and then the other side said "young, gifted, and black." tell me what that means. ryan: so, all of our students are gifted. they all have amazing talents, and we need to make sure we're not squandering that talent. so, wearing a "young, gifted, and black" shirt represented that they have all the potential in the world. it is our duty as adults to really invest in them. and if you saw the thousand faces, majority black, but also brown and also white, who came to say, "let's focus on these students," you know that's a movement being made. and i think we need to engage students, we need to engage educators in changing the course for black students, for changing the course of latino students, and for low-income students across the state. jessica: and really giving them the access that the other
students have so that they can flourish at the same pace. now, the highest concentration of black students in the state in the bay area is alameda county, solano, contra costa, and san francisco. how do you see those counties dealing with the needs of african-american students? ryan: yeah, and it's amazing. so in the bay area, we actually have four of the largest five counties, have the highest concentration of black students. so, we have a serious amount of black students that we need to support. there are a number of things that are happening in san francisco and in oakland. they actually have departments that are focused on achievement of black students, on black male and black female students. jessica: are we seeing results with those? ryan: and you are; you're already seeing an increase in the number of black male students who are graduating from oakland because they have a course designed to really support them. jessica: they've been on our show. ryan: yeah, and you know, and it's great to see what chris chapman and the superintendent, antoine wilson, are doing over there. and you're starting to see those trends across the state as well. san francisco has a preschool for all program, and 75% of the
highest concentration community where you see black students are actually enrolled in that program in san francisco. jessica: so, what do the other schools need to do besides these two? long-term and short-term, what do you see making a difference? now that you've got this momentum with this campaign, how do you want the other counties to show that black mind matters? ryan: absolutely, so, number one, we need to ensure that black students, and latino students, and low-income students have access to college preparatory courses. that has to happen. ap classes should happen everywhere, not just in upper-income courses. we need to find our most talented, most effective teachers, and incentivize them to come to our most underserved communities. jessica: which are highly segregated many times. ryan: absolutely, and we need to provide expanded learning opportunities. we need more after-school programs. we need more summer learning opportunities so that students can actually get ahead. but lastly, we need to put equity at the center of our conversation, meaning all students should have the same opportunity.
but let's not pretend that they're all starting in an equal place. those who are starting way beyond and before the starting line need to have a boost, so we need to be giving those resources to those students. jessica: very well done. black minds matter. ryan: black minds matter. jessica: black minds matter. thank you very much, ryan. we'll be right back. [music]
and way too much to do, that's how a lot of high school students describe their lives these days. in addition to school and homework, they've got jobs, all those extra-curricular activities, they've got the volunteering. really, you're in high school and it can feel like a rat race, and you're still just a kid. now, the authors of a new book, "overloaded and underprepared," say it is time for kids to take a breather. they say schools and parents can help their students create a more balanced life, a life with more meaning. that's what we all would like.
denise pope is one of those authors. she's a senior lecturer at stanford's graduate school of education and the co-founder of challenge success, which challenges the conventional wisdom of what it means to succeed. so, thank you so much for being here. so, okay, we know the kids are overloaded, and we know they're pushed to the max. but now you're telling me, after all that, they're also underprepared? that does not sound good. denise pope: i know. unfortunately, it's true, though. when we look at these kids coming out of really good high schools, the kids with sort of top grades, top test scores, what we're finding is they're actually lacking in some very basic skills that they need to succeed when they get out. they do not know how to communicate well, they don't know how to collaborate, right, how to think critically, how to be creative and think outside the box, because they've been little robo-students all the way through. jessica: i have to say, when i was reading about it, it really sounds like kids' lives are almost mirroring adult lives, but in a mini form. always on the go, on the go, there's no time for reflection, there's no time to catch your breath. you just go, go, go. denise: exactly, and here's the problem. they are not physiologically mini-adults.
so they need even more sleep than we need, they need even more time for downtime and reflection to figure out, "who am i? you know, what's my identity?" and they need time to process all these things that they're doing and learning. jessica: because they're not really doing it. you think you're talking to an adult. my daughter's in high school, and a lot of times i think i'm talking--she looks like an adult to me. and then i see this blank stare on her face, and i'm thinking she's not processing the information i'm giving her. denise: no, and physically, their prefrontal cortexes are not fully formed till they're in their late 20s. so, we have to still be a scaffold for them. we have to still help them through and really do what is developmentally appropriate for kids their age. jessica: so i'll tell you this. at least 3 times a week, i come home and i find my daughter at 1 o'clock in the morning, when i get home, completely asleep, books on her, lights on, out. but then when i say to her, "okay, we've got to give up this, we've got to give up this, you've got to give up this so that you can have a more normal life," "no, no, no, i have to do these activities. i can't get into college. i have to do this volunteering." she doesn't know, and i actually don't know,
how do i make her take a breather? i don't know how to do it either. denise: right, no, it's really hard. so, there's a couple of suggestions. if you look at the protective factors for kids, you need what's considered playtime, downtime, and family time every day. she needs some time just to chill. she needs to get enough sleep. one o'clock in the morning does not sound like it's enough sleep. and she needs--you need time as a family, which can also happen on weekends and whatnot. but she also has to look at it--you know, we use the buffet table analogy. when you eat at a buffet, you take the biggest plate and you take--you go back for seconds and thirds and fourths. and the nutritionists will say, "don't do that." take a small plate, go down the buffet lines, take what you want, and then walk away from the buffet. she's doing too many activities. she's overloaded. and there's a myth that you need to do a million things to get into college, and it's actually not true. they've realized that these kids are overloaded, and they don't want the aftermath that are ending up in their freshman dorms. jessica: so, you also talk about that you need to have some of this downtime in school. how do you get a high school to say, "oh, i know we only have
the 45 minutes of instructional time, but i'm going to give you some downtime now"? denise: well, that is the exact thing. we move away from the 45-minute instructional day. so, what we do is we help schools actually change their schedules. so, you have maybe a late start. and during that late start, the kids sleep in and the teachers work together because teachers are up, adults are up at that hour, right? you have longer periods, but they don't meet every day, so you're not losing instructional time, but you actually gain--what's lost with all those transitions, there's so much time lost with the start and stop, right, each time. so, when you make a longer period and do it less frequently, you're actually gaining. jessica: are the schools receptive to these ideas? denise: absolutely, we have worked with 130 schools so far across the us. we have schools in the book, case studies of schools that have made the changes, and how they've hit through some of those obstacles to change. jessica: how did parents react to the changes? denise: you have to educate the parents as to why you're doing it. and one of the things we see, even let's take the late start as an example. you might have parents who say,
"i have to get to work at the same time. i have to drop my kids off at the same time." that's fine because what those kids gain is an extra hour to do homework, or take a nap, or hang out with friends. so, we can make this work, even when parents' schedules don't make that work. jessica: so, the other thing i was going to ask you about is homework. we keep talking about no busy work, no homework. i know you've talked about this extensively. i feel like it's not--the messages isn't really getting out there because my daughter has a ton of homework all the time. denise: right, so we do a lot of work with homework. so, some of the things we do is we actually have teachers shadow kids for the day, go through and figure out how much homework they would have to do if they were that child, and really realize that, after that long, exhausting day, not to mention 2 hours of sports practice and piano and ballet and whatnot, to start the homework. so, homework is one of those things we have to really get both sides on board. you have to say to the kids, "you're distracted with social media. you're starting way too late. after you're too tired, you're going to read that same paragraph three times. but teachers, you're assigning too much, and a lot of it is not necessary."
there's a confusion between rigor and load. you can be rigorous, you can get someone to really understand something in-depth, without assigning 80 problems. ten might be just as good, just as valuable. jessica: i know we only have 30 seconds, but you're a big fan of project-based learning. denise: absolutely, project-based learning is where it's relevant, interesting, and engaging, and it sticks, as opposed to sort of worksheet, rote-based memorization. jessica: i'm going to take this that i need to be less burdened myself, so i'm going to apply it. i think all of us adults could apply this to ourselves as well. thank you, denise, for being with us. we'll be right back. [music]
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